Show Up

There is a thing going around with Productivity Experts talking about getting up an hour earlier to do more stuff. They are not commanding me, personally, to do this, which is good because I would feel very targeted if so. At this time in my life I will not be rising any earlier than 5:20. Currently, the alarm goes at 5:20 (by which I mean a clock radio turns on and CBC Radio One starts talking) and I hear the tail end of some story. Sometimes the story inserts itself into my dream, which is always bizarre. At 5:25 they play a ‘wake up song’ with varying success. Then traffic and weather, news, more traffic and weather, and sports. By sports I am pulling on my skull-printed leggings for another day. I sit and point my face at a cup of coffee until the steam of the coffee has motivated me enough to open my mouth for a sip. Then I write down a few things I remember seeing and appreciating from the previous day. If I finished a book the night before, I log it. Usually at this point my right lower back twinges and I remember I should be stretching so I hit the floor and do ten to twenty minutes of stretches and yoga poses. Today I did fewer stretches because I had a yoga class last night and I am writing instead. At 6:15 it’s shower time. Then breakfast, pack food for the day, wrestle my hair into a pleasing sculpture, take five vitamins, brush teeth, bid children good morning and goodbye, and hit the streets.

If I got up at 4 AM, not only would I be a zombie who stopped functioning at all around 2 pm (I know this because currently I shut down mentally at 3 pm) but in order to survive ie: not get on the wrong train and end up in Coquitlam, I’d also have to cut my evenings short by an hour. This would prevent me attending strata council meetings (at the “oh well” end) and writers group (at the “damn!” end). And on the daily, I would miss an entire hour of my family.

Conversations started with the kids often go like this:

How was your day?
Fine.
What did you do?
Not much.
Favourite part of school today?
Coming home.
Least favourite?
X class.
What didn’t you like about it?
*Shrug*.

I tried the list of 25 questions your child hasn’t heard before. It went around a couple of years ago. “Try asking THESE questions to get more answers from your children!” And the 12 y/o played along, because he is generally amenable to my quirks, but the 10 y/o withered me with one half-lidded look so I got scared and stopped trying.

But the other day, after the usual “how was your day at school / fine / how was your day at work? / okay I guess” (wait — maybe I should lead by example?) exchange, as I was opening the fridge for something, the 12 y/o said,
Remember Joey (not his real name) from my old basketball team?
I said yes, of course, and he said, well, Joey does this thing where he runs towards Bob (obvs a pseudonym as well) and then Bob crouches down and Joey puts his hands on Bob’s shoulders and then JUMPS OVER HIM!
Wow!
I KNOW! It’s amazing!
Does Joey do this to anyone else?
Just Bob.
Huh!
Right?

At first I considered what I should be doing with this information. Is he confiding some sort of bizarre bullying ring to me? Is there an internet leapfrogging craze where children jump over things and film it and then try to get famous on the Internet (are we still capitalizing internet, I have been out of blogging so long)?
No, Clara, I said sternly, settle down, he is just sharing an amazing moment from his day. As you have been hassling for, lo these many years.

I accept the story — probably not the weirdest thing that happened at middle school that day, but let’s not dwell – and the lesson. I can’t show up at a prescribed time and expect people to perform their thoughts and feelings for me. I have to be here, as much as I can, and the thoughts and feelings will be shared. Passive language, yes, but in this case, it’s kind of appropriate and I will allow it.

Therefore I REFUSE to rise any earlier on the grounds it will ENDANGER the EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT of my FRAGILE CHILDREN! I’m exactly as productive as I need to be. Tag it: a defence in search of an attack.

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